On April 6, 2017, the mind-bending, “story rich” puzzle adventure game, “Echoplex” was released on Steam Early Access. Developed by the South African indie studio Output Games, Echoplex challenges players to solve spatial puzzles while surviving their unyielding “echo’s” pursuit. Releasing with the price tag of $9.99, Echoplex seeks to both puzzle and frighten players, as they unlock pieces of their personal story. Having just released into Early Access, Output Games still has much work to do. For the meantime, we can dive headfirst into the psychological, sci-fi horror that is Echoplex Early Access. Can you use yourself to escape yourself?
Echoplex Official Trailer
Boasting itself as a “psychological, sci-fi, story filled, horror puzzle game”, Echoplex is trying to cover a lot of bases. As the game stands now, it is slightly missing the mark. Although there is promise for more content in the future, Echoplex is currently sporting a whopping total of 15 levels. The first five of which act as somewhat of a learn as you go tutorial. Currently being worth anywhere from 90-120 minutes of gameplay, Echoplex simply needs more content. The saving grace is the innovative use of the echo mechanic.
What at first glance seems like a simple mechanic, echoes add a lot of challenging flavor to each puzzle. The concept is simple. Shortly after you begin the puzzle, an image of yourself called an echo will spawn. Your echo will repeat any and all movements exactly as you have done them, without any variation. The catch is if you get too close to any echo it’s game over. Or in more complex later puzzles, if two echoes get too close together, they will both explode forcing you to restart the level. Use each echo wisely triggering key objectives at key moments to solve each puzzle. Quickly you will learn to strategically time your movements, utilizing precise patterns to breeze through the story.
A major selling point for Echoplex is its rich story, designed to reveal who “you” are as you progress through each level. The story is explained through live action video shots, shot by the indie film director Tyron Janse van Vuuren. It is an exceptionally unique way to bring players into the story, and it has an incredible amount of potential. The problem is, as the game sits now in its Early Access phase, the story goes absolutely nowhere. By the end of the game in its current state, you have gathered nothing but a few arbitrary video clips of memories and a random phone number. There is hope, however, as the current story ends with every story lover’s worst nightmare, the dreaded “To Be Continued” message.
Everything said, Echoplex has some serious untapped potential. As long as Output Games continues development, and releases more challenging content, Echoplex could become a powerhouse in the minimalistic puzzle genre. Though there is not much content currently available, what they do have is a solid base to work from. However, $9.99 is a pretty steep price for the amount of content presently accessible. My personal recommendation is to keep close tabs on Echoplex as it progresses through Early Access. Follow updates closely, because with a lot of work, when it finally releases, Echoplex could become an incredible indie title.
Keep up with Echoplex news and updates at their official website. Maybe you want to challenge yourself, to use yourself, to survive yourself, then check out their store page on Steam, and pick up your copy now for $9.99. Good luck in the Echoplex!
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